zAgile eschews tools for open-source, integrated ALM
March 6, 2009 —
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When it comes to application life-cycle management, zAgile is saying, “Tools? We don’t need no stinkin’ tools!”
That is the calling card of the latest company on the ALM block to offer an integration bus that allows for third-party development software. However, zAgile solely facilitates the use of outside development software, not its own.
Many other companies, like Kovair and Urbancode, have already embraced the idea of ALM 2.0 and offer a brand-agnostic integration framework for software development. However, with Kovair, for example, developers can use third-party requirements definition software but also have the option of using Kovair’s requirements definition tool.
“Although we play in the ALM space, the problem with the term 'ALM' is that it brings along the baggage of tools, and we do not provide tools,” said Andrew Lampitt, cofounder and vice president of marketing for zAgile. “We interpret ALM 2.0 as information sharing among the various products, and that’s what software information management means.”
zAgile provides an open-source semantic framework, an integration bus that allows tools and methodologies from all companies. It touts the notion of software information management, which the company defines as the integration and management of information associated with all phases and aspects of the software engineering life cycle. The company gives real-time dashboards that track the performance of those tools.
zPortal, one such real-time collaboration product from zAgile, integrates the repositories of different tools in use and shows the status of different aspects of a developer’s project. zComposer, meanwhile, focuses on aligning the processes of distributed teams.
“We don’t get into the methodology or process religion: Is waterfall better than agile methods?” Lampitt said. “We accommodate the processes as to what the organization has. The one tool we do have is a process definition tool, where you capture the processes, and then you can instantiate your tools with projects corresponding to that methodology.”
In talking about the benefits of an open-source ALM framework, Lampitt said, “You’re not paying anything until you’ve proven it out in your own organization. You download it and say, ‘I know I need some integration, but I don’t feel like putting down a couple hundred thousand dollars just to see if it works.’ ”